Upgrade choice - motherboard/CPU or Videocard for current gen gaming


Dec 29, 2012
My current system specs are as follows. (Well, the important bits anyway)

Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU - AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
Memory - G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
Videocard - SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 11163-05 Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card

I've been wanting to upgrade so that I get better performance while playing current gen games. I'll use Planetside 2 as an example of a game I've been trying to play.

I'm on a very strict budget with this upgrade.

The way I see it, I have 2 choices. I can either upgrade the motherboard/cpu/memory, or I can upgrade my videocard. Both upgrades are going to cost about the same amount. I have only freed up enough $$$ to do one or the other, but not both.
So herein lies my question. Which do you think would get me closer to being able to play planetside 2 at an acceptable frame rate? I also use this computer for some video encoding and 3D rendering.

Upgrade option #1
Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-970A-DS3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU - AMD FX-8320 Vishera 3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor
Memory - G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

Upgrade option #2
Videocard - I haven't really decided on the exact videocard yet, but from what I've seen, $250 is going to be my target price to get me into a current gen GPU. (suggestions would be helpful).

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I'll be looking forward to reading your suggestions.


I think you need both. If you upgrade just one, then it's going to be lopsided. If you could magically find an extra $100-150, I would suggest a fx-6300, new board, new RAM and a 7870.

However, I think maybe you could add a 7850 and Phenom 965 BE now on your budget. That would be a solid upgrade across the board (about 20-25% CPU and 100% GPU gain). Then you could sell all your old parts on ebay and hopefully get enough for a more modern board and RAM to add a bit later. I think you should be able to get about $40-50 for the Athlon and $50-60 for the 5770.

GPU (just an example, pick favorite brand): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103211
Phenom: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2372719&CatId=4433

That's what I'd do. Or if you know you'll have cash to upgrade the other half soon, upgrade the CPU/Mobo/RAM now, overclock the 5770 for a while and add a 7850/70 ASAP.